Last month, Google unveiled their exciting new technology for Android called “Instant Apps”, which, in a nutshell, allows developers to create an smooth, fast, native user experience that doesn’t have to be downloaded from the Play Store.
With a growing sense of app fatigue on the horizon, it seems a perfect solution for mobile users who are somewhat interested, but are too busy or don’t care enough to waste precious time and storage space downloading a full app. Assuming it’s cost-effective for the app developer to include the code, it seems like a great solution.
But some critics rightly point out that many organizations are lagging in just the concept of app development, just barely managing to support an optimized mobile web experience. With app usage trending lower than web usage, it hardly makes sense for many businesses to invest the money, time, and effort into developing and maintaining a mobile app. So where does Google’s Instant Apps fit in?
As someone with a degree in marketing and years in the business, one of the biggest challenges for any new client is dropping that bounce rate, or decreasing the number of people who immediately leave the site. Reducing that barrier to entry is a key part of getting users to actually notice and care about your product or service. One could argue that forcing users to download and install an app is just about one of the biggest barriers to entry that you can find...especially if the app hasn’t been reviewed so favorably.
The idea is that eliminating the hassle part of an app by bypassing the download, Instant Apps will be more accessible than native apps. This is good for the mobile user, but fantastic for the advertiser. If (when) Google integrates AdWords and Instant Apps, mobile users could move seamlessly from a prominent website into the relevant part of a competitor’s native app just by tapping on an unobtrusive ad, bypassing the hassle of an app store and putting the advertisers best foot forward.
It’s a brilliant move on Google’s part, and a win-win situation all around. Google’s core business of advertising gets a great boost, advertisers have new options to explore creative solutions and generate user interest, Android users get a better mobile experience altogether, and developers gain a potentially compelling reason to focus on Android over competing platforms.
The only question is, how likely is widespread adoption? If development is too complex and costs are too high, businesses may opt to continue focusing their efforts on web. If the early adopters who do take the bait don’t see any user activity, others might be hesitant to follow. Ultimately, time will tell.